Economics is the study of the management of wealth. We know something best when we know its cause. What we desire to know of economics is:
- What is wealth? (formal)
- Where does wealth come from? (material)
- How is wealth produced? (efficient)
- What is the purpose of wealth? (final)
This constitutes a science of wealth. However, we are not simply interested in wealth, but its management. We consider the following:
- What is the management of wealth?
- What is makes this management possible?
- How do we manage wealth?
- What is the purpose and perfection of the management of wealth?
We are interested not simply in the production of wealth, because production of wealth is only its beginning. We must further consider its use, because what is produced in economics is produced to be used for some further purpose. This is what Aristotle does in considering the management of a household in beginning his investigation into economics.
This management is not simply of wealth produced, but the gathering of material, production of something and its further use. This includes the topics of labor, capital, raw material and so on.
Following Aristotle’s method, we will attempt to begin from what is most simple and well known and move toward what is complex and less well known.